Saturday, June 2, 2012

My Hair Isn't Grey Enough Yet

The day before Mother's Day I was told I'm going to be a Grandma and I wanted to share an insight I gained in the past few weeks... I'm sure I'll share others as the months go by; the baby's due in January.
  • Be very specific what you ask God for because he'll grant what you are asking on HIS terms & timing NOT yours:
    • When Maddie was born I said I wanted a daughter who was strong and spoke her mind. I made the mistake of not clarifying that I wanted a daughter that was strong and spoke her mind to everyone EXCEPT me.... I got exactly what I wished for...
    • I've ALWAYS said I wanted to skip right over motherhood straight to being a Grandma so I could spoil the grandkids rotten and send them home. I forgot to clarify that I wanted my children to zoom up in age also so that when they became parents they would be 100% prepared to have their  own child (if that's even possible.)... Anyway, I got exactly what I wished for...
  • My hair isn't grey enough yet to be called "Grandma" so I'm announcing to all the other Grandmother's (Great etc) that I am claiming the title of "Nana Jamie" right now. Pick something else for yourself ....sorry!
  • For the soon to be Grandfather's... FYI the kids already call their Grandfather's "Papa"... Papa John, Papa Earl & Papa Harry so if you have that in mind for yourself, you'll need to pick something else because that title's already designated for the "Great Grandfather's"...
For Hunter & Skye, although I can't claim I'm overjoyed at the thought of getting a grandchild before my hair is white enough to get the title of "Grandparent" I do know I will be an awesome "Nana" and I'll love your child more than I can express here...

Also, here's some helpful tips I found on the internet last night for you both (Sorry I'm having trouble getting it bigger on here...  To see a bigger image CLICK HERE)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Cooking is always more enjoyable with others...

Pretty table setting
When I was down in California for work JoAnne had a little luncheon with her close friends that took a recent trip with her and Ray. She wanted to cook an assortment of recipes of things they had as a closing to the trip.

It's always more enjoyable cooking with others than by yourself although I do like cooking for parties or holidays for people (other than my kids) because seeing people enjoy my cooking gives me pleaseure. My kids either pass or fail my cooking on if Auntie Kelly or Grandpa John makes it better than me... "It's good but Auntie Kelly's is better."... whatever :-)

We made Sea Bass (totally nummy, sorry no photo was too busy cooking), a potato gratin dish in individual ramekin dishes (again no photo), green beans with toasted pine nuts (no photo.. yeah I suck)... BUT I did get photos of the tomato & watermelon salad & a roasted beet with tzatziki sauce appetizer...

The Summer Salad with Tomato & Watermelon was delicious! It was surprising to find the combination of watermelon and tomato but it was light and refreshing.

Roasted beets, topped with tzatziki sauce, sprinkled with toasted walnuts and drizzled with fine olive oil. Can you say nummy?

Anyway, try the salad... I think you'll like it as much as we did and it's safer than eating mayo based potato or macaroni salad that's sat out on some picnic table in the sun for too long.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Memories of Grandma Lela - Mamoul, Maamoul (Syrian Date Cookies)

Some of the things that remind me of my Grandma Lela are her sewing, crocheted slippers, embroidery and her Syrian Date Cookies (aka Mamoul or Maamoul). She would always make them, put them in a tin and bring with her on the airplane when she came to see us.
Grandma Lela (Wasn't she beautiful?)
Today I decided to make some so I thought I would share "how to" with everyone. They are nummy.

There are many versions of the receipe out there on the web. Some use semonila flour and yeast. I use a simpler version using white flour.

First you will want to gather the ingredients:

1 3/4 Cups of Flour
1 1/2 Sticks Unsalted Butter cut into small pieces
3 tsp Orange Flower Water or Rose Water - (or 1/2 & 1/2 of each.. that's what I did)
2 TBSP Milk
1/2 pound pitted dates (or I found baking dates in the Middle Eastern Store. It's already a jam/paste consistency so you can skip the step below to make the filling.)
3 TBSP Water

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

To prepare the filling if you can't find the baking dates:
1. Put pitted dates and water in a saucepan over low heat. Bring to a simmer, reduce and stir often until the consistency is thick and jam-like. Spread the filling on a plate or shallow bowl to cool.

To make the dough:
1. Put the flour in a mixing bowl
2. Cut up the unsalted butter into small pieces (mine was frozen so it broke up nicely.)
4. Add the butter to the flour and use a pastry cutter to blend w/ flour until a crumbly consistency (or use a food processor.)
5. Sprinkle Orange and/or Rose Water & milk over flour/butter and blend just until the dough forms a ball.

To prepare the cookies:
1. Break off a piece of the dough and make a ball (you will want to make yours smaller than the one pictured below.)
2. Use your thumb or index finger to make an indentation in the ball of dough.
3. Expand the indentation to make the dough a small cup shape.
4. Put a small teaspoon full of filling inside and pinch the dough closed.
5. Now with this step if you do not have a mold you would place the cookie seam side down on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Leave about 1 inch between each and use a fork to flatten a little & make decorative edges. If you have a mold see the directions continued below.

To shape the cookie in the mold:
1. Dust the mold with flour.
2. Place the dough ball into the mold and press firmly. Try to keep it as flat on the bottom & even with the top of mold (I had too much in the one that was photographed. I got better as I went along guessing how much to use for each cookie.) When done tap firmly on counter to expel the cookie and place on the baking sheet about 1 inch apart.

To Bake & Finish:
1. Bake for 20 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Do NOT let them brown. They should remain very white. Since there is no sugar added to the dough there should be very little carmelization. (The photo below is them heading INTO the oven.)
2. Remove from oven and cool on the pan placed on a wire rack. Once cooled dust with powdered sugar.

Eat & enjoy.... Grandma's comfort food at its finest.